5 ways to give thanks (without saying it)

I had to chuckle at one of my favorite Mad Men episodes, The Suitcase. Peggy is miffed because Don is not being a thankful boss.

Don: It’s your job. I give you money, you give me ideas.
Peggy: But you never say ‘thank you.’
Don: That’s what the money is for.

It got me thinking of all the times that I have lamented that my boss or colleagues did not say thank you, and yes, I have been brought to tears, just like Peggy!

Receiving thanks is a form of credit and acknowledgement. Does it trump money? As the famous cosmetics titan Mary Kay Ash said, “There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise.”

I do agree with Don Draper that we are being paid to do our jobs, so a thank you is not mandatory. Sometimes, we actually thank colleagues too much, thus trivializing appreciation and making it more of a platitude. Thanks should be reserved only for accomplishments that go above and beyond. Here are five ways to say thank you without actually saying it.

  1. Share examples of good work in team meetings. By discussing a specific success story and attributing it to the employee(s) responsible, you don’t simply show you are thankful, you indicate that you admire and respect a job well done.
  2. Tell their boss. Make sure to let the supervisor know that his/her employee has done an above and beyond job. You can tell them in person or send an email with a cc to the employee.
  3. Give formal public recognition. This form of thanks, whether it be monetary or non-monetary, is very public and informs the rest of the team that you recognize and praise excellence.
  4. Provide flexibility. If an employee shows a high level of performance excellence combined with responsibility and reliability, allow them greater flexibility as a reward. This form of thanks can include letting them work remotely and/or enjoy flexible hours.
  5. Do something nice. Rather than a verbal thanks, do something special for the high performer. This thank you could include having their car detailed while they are at work, inviting them to a meal with the boss, or providing a gift certificate for a massage.

Do not feel compelled to over-thank. Reserve verbal or non-verbal thanks for when such appreciation is truly deserved. In the end, it will mean a lot more.

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Lohfeld Consulting